Thursday, September 18, 2014

We interrupt this blog silence

...for a special announcement.

Attention Guineans:

Your countrymen seem to think that the appropriate way to treat doctors and support staff who volunteer to go into your Godforsaken country during an Ebola outbreak is to stone them, slit their throats, and dump their bodies into latrines.


The lot of you should consider yourself damned lucky I'm not in charge of the various government and private aid agencies which arrange for aid in your country.  Were I queen of the world, or at least of a high-level government agency, my response would be: "Fine.  So be it.  All medical and support staff volunteers will be evacuated within the next 48 hours.  After that, your country may consider its borders closed until that virus has run its course.  You want to effectively live in the fourteenth century?  Fine.  Go for it.  That's your right.

Should any of you decide that modern medicine has its perks, you may execute appropriately, publicly, and preferably in a manner pour le encourage les autres who might get similarly bright ideas those of your countrymen who perpetrated this outrage.  Having done so, you may notify us of the security procedures you'll put in place to ensure this sort of thing never happens again, and we'll consider permitting our aid groups to return.

That is all.


  1. And now we want to send 3000 troops over there to the same physical threat and also the one of bringing it back stateside? Close the borders and let it play out.

    1. I'd agree with a point. Leaving aside the (considerable) possibility for contagion via troops bringing Ebola back here, I honestly think that it's above-and-beyond to expect our soldiers to go over there to do...what, exactly?

      As far as I'm concerned, if aid groups (MSF, for example) want to go there, they may with the understanding that no one leaves the country until they've been through the appropriate quarantine first. Ergo, if Dr. Smith, a good doctor and even better human being, wants to go to Guinea in order to treat patients with Ebola, he may--provided that it's made clear that he won't be evacuated if he gets sick.

      The University of Texas at Galveston is one of the lead research facilities in the fight to deal with Ebola. It seems to me that the proper solution would be to have both government and educational institutions fund a couple of treatment and research facilities in the hardest-hit areas and send volunteers over both to treat the patients and to do on-the-ground research. As a Texan, I can think of a lot of things my tax dollars currently support from which I'd cheerfully route funds to researching the cure or vaccine for a rather nasty disease. ;) In education alone, send those tax dollars to fund medical research than, say, a seventh tenured professorship in the local college's Underwater Basketweaving Studies department, but I digress...

      It seems to me that common humanity says that we should allow those who can do some good to go there and do it, provided they understand that humanity (not to mention common sense) also requires that they not bring that which they're fighting to an as-yet uninfected region.